Saturday, September 09, 2006

Phuket Is Back

Yes, thats the tagline adopted by Laguna Beach Resort in the beginning of 2006 to help revive the tourism business in Phuket after the terror incident of Tsunami hitting the island. It was a well spent 3D2N offsite for me and the whole company, charting out our company-wide plans, initiatives and strategies to go after our FY07 goals. The hotel services at this resort were extremely GOOD. Everything were in order when I do the spot-checking before our meetings starts. You only have to inform them once on what you want from them and when you arrive, everything are in perfect order. Thats an A+ for them.

And besides that we have some fun too, and what better way than to reach out to Patong beach and have a nite out. As I said, Patong had a lot more to offer besides the likes of Simon cabarets, go-go bars and some sleazy joints (you know what I meant). As I step onto the tuk-tuk to transport me from Laguna Beach Resort to Patong which is a winding 35mins ride, and along the way I saw lots of construction coming up. This shows that the island is making a real comeback, and this time even bigger.

As we are reaching the town, I saw lots of flat land and when I asked the driver about it, he told me these are the areas that were hit by tsunami where everything got flatten. There are lots of memorial monuments that were build around these area for those tsunami victims. I requested the driver to stop by one of them for me to take a look at. Everything were written in Thai (except for some English names) which I dont understand but for sure the memories of those victims will forever be there. I later made a token of donation to offer my help as a tourist to the local folks in maintaining these monuments.

Patong beach looks the same as before except that the walkway pavement are all newly reconstructed. Otherwise it does not seem to be hit by a tsunami one and a half years ago. The rows of small retail shops are all still around, except for some that are selling the photos taken during the tsunami incidents.

Bangla Road, the happening lane of Patong beach where it is line up with rows of water-joints, go-go bars, sleazy joints, Ah Gua table top dancing joints, and most interesting of all are the tailor shops that can stitch your suit in 24hrs. A few of my colleagues were interested in making one, and we ended up in one shop call Armani Best (end of BanglaRoad just underneath a Thai-boxing stadium). A full cashmere suit will cost around Baht4500 (~RM450) which is not bad. Once the deal is concluded, the so call tailor-cum-shop owner will do the measurement and cut the material. They will then have you back to the shop in two hours to do the fitting before the final stitching. Once that is OK after the fitting, it will be send to a place (god know where it is, but I believe it should be a factory where there are many tailors working 24hrs to support this industry in Phuket) for the final stitching. The suit will then be deliver to the hotel the following day. To me thats an amazing industry. It is so competitive.....

Overall this business+pleasure trip was good except for an incident where we have a company dinner at this restaurant called Savoey Seafood Restaurant This place sucks BIG time. If this is how Phuket is going to revive their tourism biz, this restaurant have to be tightly scrutinised. The service is BAD, food is BAD especially the fish and prawns that we ordered. It tasted like rotten meat. Complaints fell to deaf ears. Overall offering is a BIG Thumbs Down. BADDDDD!!!! Worst still they charged us for the tom yam soup that they didnt deliver to one of the tables. Doesnt admit their MISTAKE and insist that we pay. They even challenged me when I told them that I will make an official complaint to The Tourism Board of Thailand. Behave like a bunch of gangster. NEVER GO THERE !!!!

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